The Terrifying Truth Behind The Conjuring

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Written By Madeline Guerra

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The Movie

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In 2013, director James Wan brought forth one of the most chilling movies of all time, The Conjuring. Based in an old farmhouse on Rhode Island, the story circles around the Perron Family, made up of Carolyn and Roger Perron, and their five daughters, Andrea, Nancy, Christine, Cindy, and the youngest, April.

Eager to get settled into their home and new routine with Roger as a traveling truck driver and Carolyn as the primary caregiver, the family jumped at the chance to move into this seemingly perfect home.

But things soon take an unexpected turn when the family starts to notice that maybe their home isn’t as peaceful as they once thought. 

It started off small at first, with Carolyn noticing that the clocks would all stop at the same time, and their youngest, April, started talking to an imaginary friend named Rory.

As time went on though, it became apparent that Carolyn was the primary target of the spirit’s aggression, with bruises appearing all over her body and soon enough, she developed symptoms of possession.

The family sought help from famed paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren, who eventually came to their house and informed the family that they were being haunted by many spirits, but Carolyn was the primary target of the worst one, a demonic spirit named Bathsheba. 

With the help of the Warrens, the Perrons were finally able to free themselves from evil’s grasp. But what about the real family? You see, despite the opening credits saying it was based on a true story, there are some things that are just too hard to believe until you do the research yourself.

The Real Events

If you ever watched an interview with Lorraine Warren, she will tell you that almost every detail in the movie was accurate, as she actually worked alongside the director and producers during filming.

Even the Perrons have been supportive of the movie ever since the oldest daughter Andrea, came out with a book about what occurred. So what really happened to that family?

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The Perrons were a young family that consisted of the mother, Carolyn, her husband Roger, and the five girls listed earlier. The family purchased the 200 acre property in the winter of 1970 and unlike the movie, ended up living there for ten years due to financial issues.

Until they were finally able to move out in June of 1980. Many of the family was willing to discuss what happened to them in order to help make the movie, except for daughter Christine. 

According to them, they moved into the home in January of 1971, as a 14 room farmhouse, everyone was eager to have more space to spread out. But their happiness didn’t last for long.

Carolyn began to notice several different things, such as the broom would frequently disappear or be moved, the kettle would make a weird, eerie scraping sound, despite nobody being in the kitchen, and after cleaning the kitchen floor, she would find small dirt piles. 

And it wasn’t only Carolyn that had these odd experiences. Her husband Roger, said he would feel a cold presence behind him every time he stepped foot into the cellar.

Despite trying to shield their daughters from what was happening, they too began to have their own experiences. Andrea said she would smell something similar to rotting flesh around the house, and at one point her and her sister’s beds would rise off the ground. 

Tired of watching everything happening to her family and not being able to do anything about it, Carolyn decided that she needed to do research on her property in order to understand what was happening.

When diving into the past of the property, she found some very unsettling things. According to the town’s public records, eight generations of a family had lived and died there.

Unfortunately, a large amount of those deaths were under tragic circumstances. Two people hung themselves in the attic, one person committed suicide by poison, eleven year old Prudence Arnold was raped and murdered, two people drowned in the creek, four men had frozen to death, and many other people met their demise there. 

Frightened by what she uncovered, Carolyn then took it upon herself to reach out to Ed and Lorraine Warren, renowned paranormal investigators and founders of the New England Society for Psychic Research. 

According to Lorraine, a medium and clairvoyant, as soon as she stepped foot into the house, she could sense the evil that was lurking there. And it was on Carolyn that a majority of the energy was focused on.

When asked about any specific attacks, there was one that came to Carolyn’s mind right away and she proceeded to tell Lorraine what happened.

According to her, she was laying on the sofa one day, relaxing, until she felt a sharp, piercing pain in her calf, and her muscles began to spasm. 

Alarmed, she looked down only to discover that she was bleeding where she felt the pain. Now confused as well, Carolyn looks around for anything that could have caused such a thing.

Her daughter Andrea, described the wound being in the shape of a perfect, concentric circle, as if someone had stabbed her with a large sewing needle. 

Based on this, and her own previous research, Lorraine deduced that the primary spirit torturing Carolyn and her family was Bathsheba, a woman that used to live on the property in the 1800s and had been accused of being a Satanist.

After multiple meetings between the Warrens and the Perrons, the activity at the house hadn’t seemed to escalate at all, but that all changed one night when Lorraine decided to hold a séance with Carolyn and Roger in order to find out more about the demonic presence and what it wanted. 

Unbeknownst to them, Andrea was secretly watching the entire time, and here is how she described the terrifying events that transpired that night.

As soon as Ed and Lorraine started the séance, her mother’s demeanor changed entirely, but it wasn’t until she seemingly became possessed did Andrea wish she never snuck in to watch.

Her mom began to speak in tongues and even levitated in her chair. Soon after she was thrown into the neighboring room by some unseen force. 

Scared for his wife and now daughter that he had discovered watching the unfolding events, Roger proceeded to kick out the Warrens and cease their future séances in order to protect her.

With everything that happened there, it’s hard to believe that it would look like any other ordinary house, but that was exactly it. It looked like every suburban home you would expect to see in a small town during the 1970s.

Often called the Old Arnold Estate by the family members, the house in real life was much less creepy than the one depicted in the movie. In fact, James Wan had an entire new one built in Wilmington, North Carolina, so he could manipulate the set to add chills during scenes of the movie.

Ed and Lorraine Warren

First rising to fame and launched into the public’s eye after their involvement in the Amityville house haunting, Ed and Lorraine Warren quickly became the biggest subject of controversy.

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Ed was a self-professed demonologist and Lorraine was a clairvoyant and medium. But for every doubter out there, there was another family that they helped. Every investigation they conducted added another object to their in-home Museum of the Occult. 

According to Ed, everything in their museum was either haunted, cursed, or used in a satanic ritual of some sort. He felt that it was better to keep them in there, instead of having them out in the public. 

If I was their daughter Judy, I couldn’t even fathom having to live there, knowing that behind a door in your house lurked evil beyond my imagination. But the Warrens said they had a priest frequently visit and bless the room in order to keep it contained. 

If you want to visit the museum, unfortunately you can’t, as it is permanently closed to the public. It used to be open for visitors, tours, and reporters, but since Ed died in 2006 and Lorraine in 2019, their daughter and husband now run the museum but closed it to tours. 

The Real Bathsheba

Despite the controversy that surrounded their lives, the Warrens and the Perrons maintain the fact that a majority of the movie was accurate to their real experiences.

A majority of the scenes in the movie seem to be based off of real events, but there are a couple of aspects that were overdramatized for the film.

The first being that there was never an exorcism in real life. According to Lorraine, they would never perform an exorcism themselves, as they believed that it should only be done by a Catholic Priest. 

Another aspect was the demonic entity portrayed in the movie, Bathsheba. While some of the details about her were somewhat accurate, a majority about her life was remade for a more dramatic and scary effect in the movie.

Yes, she was a woman who lived on the property in the 1800s, but in real life she was most likely not a witch, contrary to the movie. 

Bathsheba Sherman was the wife of Islander Judson Sherman, who then owned the property. There were rumors that spread about her at the time due to the neighbor’s infant dying in her care.

When they did the autopsy, it was discovered that the cause of death was a large sewing needle impaling the base of its skull. However, with there still not enough evidence to convict, Bathsheba was cleared of all charges and never arrested.

But that didn’t stop the rumors that she was a Satanist and had killed the baby in a ritual from circulating around town. 

Also, unlike the movie, she never hung herself. Bathsheba actually lived for a long time and died from old age at 73 years old in 1885. If you want to visit her grave, you can find her buried in Harrisville Cemetery in Rhode Island.

Future Plans

Throughout their careers, Ed and Lorraine Warren investigated many events, one of which you may be familiar with from an earlier episode, the doll Annabelle.

But what about the case of the Enfield Haunting, also known as England’s Amityville, or the case of Arne Johnson, the man who plead not-guilty in court, by means of demonic possession?

If this piques your interest, then make sure to stay tuned to A Dark Memory and look for future episodes where we will uncover more truths behind the lives and cases of Ed and Lorraine Warren. 

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